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Initial thoughts: Congress

I’ll be honest: I never felt particularly confident about winning CD07 or CD32. Not because Lizzie Fletcher and Colin Allred weren’t excellent candidates, or anything to do with the trends of the national environment or what have you. I just didn’t quite have as much faith in the fact that Hillary Clinton carried those districts as others. Down below the surface, these were still Republican-leaning districts, on the order of 12 points or so. Winning meant a massive advantage in turnout, convincing a lot of people who had been regularly voting Republican through 2016 to cross over, or both. I’ll know more when I see the Dallas County precinct data, but from what I’ve seen in CD07, it’s still a Republican district at its heart, but much less so than before, with multiple candidates capable of carrying it. If this is a lasting effect, then the news really is that bad for Republicans, in that Dems were finding new voters outside of the newly-registered folks.

On the flip side, if you had told me in January that we’d win CDs 07 and 32 but lose 23, I’d have bet you real money that you’d be wrong. Again, I’ll want to see precinct data, but either Will Hurd has managed to gain a significant amount of Democratic support, or this district is more Republican than it gets credit for. This should always be a winnable district for Dems, but we need to figure this out. Is Will Hurd this strong? Was Gina Ortiz Jones not as good a candidate as we thought? Is this district changing in ways that run counter to what we’ve seen elsewhere in the state? Maybe that loss in the SD19 special election runoff isn’t quite as shocking now. Let’s try to get an understanding of what happened so we can make a better effort in both of those districts in 2020.

Here are the districts that Dems lost by fewer than ten points:

Dist     Rep%    Dem%   Diff
CD23   49.22%  48.67%  0.55%
CD21   50.34%  47.52%  2.82%
CD31   50.63%  47.63%  3.00%
CD24   50.67%  47.47%  3.20%
CD10   50.90%  46.93%  3.97%
CD22   51.39%  46.41%  4.98%
CD02   52.87%  45.52%  7.25%
CD06   53.13%  45.40%  7.73%
CD25   53.61%  44.69%  8.92%

Right in the upper half is CD24, the One Of These Things That Is Not Like The Others. Based on past electoral performance, CD24 was viewed more optimistically by The Crosstab, but Democratic nominee Jan McDowell, who had also run in 2016, never raised that much money and was never on anyone’s radar. Yet McDowell carried the Dallas County and Denton County parts of the district, though she got wiped out in Tarrant County. I have to wonder what a candidate with more resources might have done. I will note that CD24 is like some of these other districts in that it has a high percentage of college graduates, a demographic that we know turned strongly against the Republican Party this year. All I know is that this district needs to be a priority in 2020. The same is true for CD10, which got a boost from the insane turnout in Travis County as well as the overall shift in Harris.

Overall, Dems had the strongest and best-funded class of candidates we’ve ever seen, and the surge in Democratic turnout statewide showed the risks of the Republican Congressional gerrymander, with nine seats coming close to flipping in addition to the two that did. It is entirely plausible that in 2020 Dems can not only hold the two they gained, but also pick up one or more others. That’s going to be contingent on a number of things, including another strong group that is capable of raising money. There’s no reason we can’t get these things – we have shown that there’s plenty of grassroots-level funding available – it’s basically up to us to do it.

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  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Hurd is perceived as a moderate when he isn’t, he probably got a larger number of Spanish surname individuals voters than others. Plus it is a lot harder to work a large area as the district he represents.

    I expect that Gina will win that district in 2020, assuming she runs. She did better than I expected.

    Remember the fact that he toured that district with Beto had to have helped him with some Beto voters.

  2. Mainstream says:

    Hurd is like Sarah Davis, a hard-working, independent Republican who matches that district well.

    Manny, are we on for tonight at Cafe Brasil? or should I cancel that?

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    Hurd may be like Sarah Davis, maybe, but the districts are different. Davis won by many more votes.

    Yes, Had a late civic club meeting last night, have to attend as the president.

    Plus I normally don’t go out at night, make it a 10-12 coffee or something, and I can probably make it.

  4. N.M. Horwitz says:

    I’m lousy at crunching numbers, but from a rather cursory view, it looks like a lot of Meyerland, Bellaire and West U that narrowly went for Fletcher, as it did for Clinton, still favored downballot Republicans, albeit by less than in 2016.

    I’m eagerly awaiting some of your precinct analysis.

  5. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Tx 23 might be a bit different than the other close seats. It doesnt look as suburban and might be less susceptible to the wave of higher income suburban voters braking for the Dems. I havent looked at the numbers, but I wouldnt be surprised if TX23 had relatively lower turnout compared to the fully suburban districts. If thats the case, then this district is in dire danger for the GOP in a higher level general election

  6. asmith says:

    We haven’t run a competitive race against Sessions since 2004 when Martin Frost ran. Good chunk of the old middle class gop base in Garland or Richardson has either moved to retirement homes on east texas lakes, moved to the outer burbs, or died out. The people the gop electeds used to count on for years have left the rolls, replaced by moderate to liberal independent types. The park cities and parts of preston hollow will likely stay red but they are less red than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The Lake Highlands area of NE Dallas is now purple.

    Without Pete Sessions or even the retiring Jeb Hensarling in office, good luck to the Dallas GOP when they ask for money from the Trump billionaire fundraisers who live in the park cities or preston hollow.

    We were seeing these trends but just needed good candidates who were well funded and ran good campaigns. Beto certainly helped but Allred, Nathan Johnson, Ana Ramos, John Turner, Rhetta Bowers, Joanna Cattanach were all running in districts within CD32 and ran professional campaigns.

    In CD24 you are right McDowell didn’t have the resources, but we now have Julie Johnson, Michelle Beckley, and Nathan Johnson who will represent a good chunk of that district in the lege. So we have a farm team of Dems in GOP drawn cds.

    Lorie Burch ran a good race against Van Taylor in the 3rd who is worth millions. We came within 1400 votes in winning two state house seats in Plano. And who knew Mark Phariss would get 48% in a Collin dominated district.